Thread: Popup camper solar advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    On the Road
    Posts
    92

    Default Popup camper solar advice

    Ok. Searched and searched. I am looking for a simple Solar setup for my popup camper.

    Camper is used 100% off the grid.
    I have one battery.
    Power is used only for interior lighting and occasional use of heater on cold nights...

    Looking for a system to help replenish battery.

    Any recommendations?

    Are these systems junk?
    http://www.amazon.com/Instapark%2599...1089978&sr=1-4

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    58
    JJMAC I am not familiar with Instapark solar gear. However, I would recommend the Goal Zero Escape 150 Expedition Kit as a good all-around kit. The price is good and it is well rounded for medium duty power demands. The Escape 150 Adventure Kit gives you a 30 watt panel in a cool briefcase with 150 watt AGM battery and a very cool 3 watt led lantern. It offers 12v DC and AC power outputs. The nice thing about this kit is that it is very self contained.

    http://expeditionoffroad.com/expedit...expedition_kit

    IMG_8230.jpg

    My only hesitation would be the heater. If you are thinking of an electric heater they can potentially draw some serious amperage.

    What type of heater are you using?

    Expedition Offroad Outfitter Authorized Goal Zero Dealer
    Quality 4x4 Parts, Expedition Support Equipment & More
    Become a fan on FACEBOOK

  3. #3
    Remember that a 30 watt panel is less than 3 amps. (3 amps x 12 volts = 36 watts.) That isn't much power dude and that PEAK power, most of the time you will have far less. On 110 volts, well you can do the math. 30 watts is basically a trickle charger. You need 360 amps to power one cigarette lighter outlet.

    You can put a whole rack of solar panels on top of your vehicle and it won't equal the output of a small alternator. I went through the electric heater idea when I had an aircooled VW. You can put the entire electrical output of an alternator and it will produce about as much heat as a hairdryer. Look elsewhere. Neither solar nor electrical heat are the answer. There is a reason people use propane.
    Last edited by nemoaz; 03-26-2011 at 03:35 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    On the Road
    Posts
    92
    Clarification.

    I have propane. But the heater unit draws a slight amount of electricity. I have camped fine for 3-4 days off ONE battery. I would like to extend that to 7-10. A trickle charger might be fine. I just dont know. This is to recharge the battery. NOT TO RUN HEATER OR ANYTHING ELSE directly with an inverter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Beaumont, Alberta
    Posts
    15
    I have a 95 Watt panel on my trailer and it will recharge a battery that is depleted. 5.5amps @ 17Volts. I have found that the panels under 50 watt usually run @ a lower voltage and are better at keeping a battery charged stay at full charge - rather than recharge a depleted battery. The small panels are great for extending battery life but don't always keep up to daily camping needs.

    I switched all my lighting over to LED, 12 led lights use the same as 1 - 1141 incandescent bulb. I put a switch on the LP detector (.25amp constant draw), and use the furnace carefully (5 amp draw) and can go indefinitely with 95 watt (long sunny days in Northern Canada).

    I have always used Carmanah Power in Canada. I think they have an office in Blaine, Washington. They have a RV power calculator on their site. www.solarforrv.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Beaumont, Alberta
    Posts
    15
    Almost forgot. Solar panel is only as good as the battery. The bigger panels work best with 100Ah battery or multiple batteries. I have found that if your battery bank is too small you don't capture enough power and if the battery bank is too big the solar won't take it to full charge.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JJMAC View Post
    This is to recharge the battery. NOT TO RUN HEATER OR ANYTHING ELSE directly with an inverter.
    Sorry. I stand corrected.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    zu ui umop
    Posts
    114
    Check out what this guy did with his system in a pop-top trailer camper. If nothing else, you may get a few more ideas.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    2,587
    Another option which I hadn't really thought about with my solar questions is to simply add another high capacity battery. It could double your stay without the need for panels, wiring and controllers. And less expensive. Just a thought.

    I'm still on the fence of solar vs another battery for a 5-day stop.
    Bark Bark goes Frankie the Adventure Dawg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    North Spokane, WA
    Posts
    443
    I had solar install on my truck camper, though I use mine differently than you use your's. LED Interior lighting is a good consideration as well like someone else mentioned. It uses about 1/10th what an 1141 incandescent bulb uses.

    I think that somewhere around 50 watts plus will help. 30 watts or smaller really won't do much more than a trickle charge. Also note that as you go with more wattage, then adding a controller really is a necessity as well.
    Doug
    2012 JK-U Rubicon

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •